"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best of 2013

I've been reflecting on the year at Genuine Husband.  It's been a time of tremendous growth for me personally as well as for the blog.  It's humbling to know that so many people read these pages and are touched in some small way by what is written here.

As I looked back on a year of writing I felt the need to recap some of the most popular posts from 2013, so in case you missed some of these, here are the 15 most read items from the year.     
 
15. What She Needs From Me 
 Four tips for helping home time run more smoothly for your wife.

14. A Short rant and Rebuttal 
My answer to an angry comment from an upset reader.

13. The Power of "No"
 The word "no" has a special power over husbands.
 
12.My "AHA" Moment
 The moment I knew I had to change.
 
11.No. I Will NOT Read your Blog
 Someone thinks I stink as a husband.
 
10."Mr. Steady" vs. the Doormat
 Peacemaking is fine, but is it really necessary to let people walk all over you?
 
9.Love Is ... A Clean Garage
 How well do you speak your wife's love language?
 
8. Love Is A Feeling ... NOT 
 It's okay to rely on your feelings ... to a point.

7. It Depends 
 Do you become weary of fighting the same fight over and over?

6. Don't Ask, Don't Tell: 4 Reasons Husbands Don't Express Themselves 
Some things to consider when you feel the need to speak your mind.

5. The Whole, Not Just "The Part" 
My whole body belongs to my wife, and hers to me.

4. Is She Better Off With You or Without You?
Getting married was a sweet deal for me, but what did my wife get out of it?
 
3. The Introvert Husband 
I'm an introvert, and I'm okay.

2. Mostly We're Just Afraid 
What are we afraid of?

1. An Intimate Look At Psalm 139
I can't hide from God.





Friday, December 27, 2013

A Kid's Perspective On Marriage


In the Art of Marriage workbook there was a little piece called “a kid’s perspective.” In it four children expressed their ideas about marriage:

Gwen, age nine: “When I get married I want to marry someone who is tall and handsome and rich and hates spinach as much as me.”

Arnold, age six: “I want to get married, but not right away because I can’t cross the street by myself yet.”

Steven, age ten: I want to marry somebody just like my mother except I hope she don’t make me clean up my room.”

Bobby, age nine: “First she has to like pizza, then she has to like cheesecake, after that she has to like fudge candy, then I know our marriage will last forever.”

While I got a definite chuckle from these opinions, I also gleaned a bit of profound truth from them.

These children are young enough to be truthful and candid with their answers.  They do not mask their feelings or pretend to like something that is yucky.  They answered the question correctly.  In their innocence they nailed it.

Gwen has her mind fixed on someone whom she finds attractive (a rather important factor if you ask me) and who will be financially equipped to care for her (and perhaps some children).  Also, he must share a common interest (her hatred of spinach).

Arnold understands that he isn’t ready for the altar.  He still has some growing up to do.

Steven is looking for the same qualities his dad found in a girl.  He wants someone who will care for him and take care of the daily hum-drums while at the same time will understand his need to be himself, messy as he is.

Bobby is looking for a best friend – someone who likes them same stuff he likes (pizza, cheesecake, and fudge candy).

All of these are excellent things to look for in a spouse.

And then it happens.  We fall in love and all those things go out the window and with them go a bit of honesty and truth.  We let our hearts lead us down the primrose path and leave reason behind.

It happens to (almost) everyone who has been in love.  It happened to me.  I’m sure it happened to my wife.  The phenomenon of “falling in love” causes many people to overlook the many things that would otherwise cause problems down the road and instead focus only on his “deep blue eyes,” or her “captivating smile,” or “the way she kisses me,” or “how he looks in those boots and tight jeans.”  

While I will be the first to admit the difficulty in peeling our emotions away from someone who causes our eyes to go all googly, I’m also going to go out on a limb and say that God created attraction so that men and women will fall in love and make babies.  However, it’s important to balance the “feelings” with brainpower and common sense.  If a man and woman find each other physically attractive but share hardly any common interests or morals, any lasting marriage between the two will be difficult at best.

That is why I find such wisdom in the ideas of the four children above.  It is also why I am so thankful to God that He sent me a lady with whom I share a love of music (though our tastes differ), a desire for a comfortable home (though our styles differ) and a strong Christian faith (though our approaches differ).

Yes, there will be things to work on for the rest of your life together (sex, parenting, household duties, lifestyle choices, personality differences), but we must always keep in mind that marriage is a life’s work, a difficult and challenging undertaking That said, it is good to have a foundation of both heart and mind at the very beginning.   

Be as honest as a child and you’ll start on the right path.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Insulation Follow-Up: What's the Big Deal

This is a follow-up to my previous post, Insulation: It Isn't Always What You Think. In that post I explained that part of a husband's role in a christian marriage is to protect the marriage against things that would cause harm, physically or spiritually. 

What's the big deal you might say. People are tempted every day and they learn to cope with it.I

That is true.  Most people can put aside most serious temptation and steer clear of devastating sin.  Additionally, most serious sin issues are avoidable.

That was not the point. 

Here's the point.

While there are some husbands who want what they want just because they are caught up in their own selfish, sinful ways, there also are those who want what they want because they are seeking deeper intimacy with their wives and they recognize the enemy's eagerness to pounce on them in a moment of weakness. 

These are the husbands who wake up in the middle of the night with lustful thoughts and they can't make them stop.  These are the ones who have pornography on their hard drives and watch it whenever they have a few spare minutes.  These are the one who are prone to fall into sin when they are tempted at a weak moment.

To these husbands, that little thing, that little issue, that little "something" is a very. big. deal.  Not just because they aren't getting their way (see the above paragraphs) but because an important layer of protection has been stripped away leaving them exposed, and their main source of physical defense is no longer on his team.

Some husbands need their wives' in very specific ways to protect the marriage and stay away from sexual sin.

That was the point.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Insulation: It Isn't Always What You Think

Insulation keeps the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  It creates a barrier of protection around you and your family.  When correctly installed it protects you from harmful elements that would cause harm if allowed to come inside. 

What about your house?  Not your physical house, but your marital house?  Have you insulated your marriage against enemies who try to breach the walls and tempt you to sin?

Have you done what it takes to protect your marriage against attack?  Are you sure?

Most husbands overlook an important aspect of protection and most churches treat this avenue as if it were toxic waste.

What am I talking about?

Simply put, husbands have been given the responsibility since Adam of caring for the garden.  Today the garden would be our families.  Adam, as we know, failed in his protection of Eve, the woman God gave him as a helper.

Keep in mind that Adam was placed in charge and Eve was his helper. So when she was tempted by the serpent it was Adam's responsibility to say "Hey Eve!  Come over here and give me a hand with this." and get them both out of there.  He was ultimately in charge of the relationship and therefore was at fault when he allowed the wall to come down and sin to enter. 

How does this relate to modern society and marriage today?

For decades sexual sin has been the most common reason for failing marriages.  A husband who becomes sexually unfulfilled at home seeks out fulfillment by having an affair.  The affair leads to divorce and what was once a very happy marriage ends in tragedy.

Who is to blame for this kind of sinful heartbreak?

Husbands.

Let me explain.   

When the marriage begins, every little thing seems like paradise.  A brand new husband and wife are excited just to be together, learning about each other and making all kinds of adjustments.  Life is blissful.

Then comes the day when a husband might want something his wife is unwilling to do.  It might be a new position or a new variation of foreplay, etc.  It could be any number of things.

Nine out of ten times a difference like this isn't a big deal and is covered by love, grace and understanding. However, if the "something" is something that will circulate in his mind and resurface constantly, causing sinful thoughts and temptation, then it is a very. big. deal. 

By not making clear the importance of the "something" and the potential for temptation that would be caused by his wife's refusal he has opened up their marriage to possible upheaval and devastation. By not insisting on certain things in the beginning of the marriage he has turned away from his responsibilities to care for his garden.  He has opened up Eden to the serpent.

**NOTE**  I am not talking about a man who selfishly demands all the sex he wants, when he wants, how he wants, without regard for his wife.  This post specifically addresses those things that cause inner turmoil in a husband's heart, to the point where he is tempted to sin. 

Wives are the only acceptable option for husbands to experience sexual fulfillment.  When there is a potential problem in this area it's the husband's responsibility to protect the marriage by whatever means necessary.

Am I suggesting that husbands should force their wives to submit?

No one can force a wife to submit to her husband's authority.  Submission is a choice.  If a wife decides to rebel instead of submit there is little a husband can do.

Well, then, what can a husband do?

Pray
  • Pray for your wife.  Pray that she will understand the struggle you are having with sex in your marriage.
  • Pray for your own strength, that you will be strong in the face of temptation and that you will always remain faithful to God and your wife, and stay true to your marriage covenant.  
  • Pray for your marriage and for the wall of protection to remain strong in the face of sexual temptation. 

Talk
  • Talk to your wife.  In a very loving way make sure she understands the consequences of your choice to not express the importance of certain things.  Make sure she knows that you intent to take the lead in some areas of your marriage, and that you need her to submit to your authority as her husband.
  • Talk to a mentor or a trusted friend.  Seek advice and counsel. Be brutally open and honest about your frustrations and temptations you are facing.  
Read
  • Read your Bible.  Get into the Word and grow closer to God, knowing Him better, and letting Him know you better.
  • Read marriage books, blogs, and other online resources.  Learn how to love your wife as Christ loved the church, giving Himself up for her.  Learn what dying to self really means.
Adjust
  • Adjust your heart.  Where there is temptation there is often a weakness that makes a person susceptible to that sin. 
  • Adjust your life. Fill in the gaps.  Make yourself busy whenever you are tempted with sinful thoughts. 

Accept
  • Accept the reality that you might live with this gap for the rest of your earthly life.  It isn't easy to come to this decision.  In fact it's quite hard. But it also is quite necessary. 
Can you think of other suggestions for husbands who face this kind of dilemma in their marriages?  Have you personally dealt with this issue?  If so please feel free to express your thoughts (respectfully) in the comments.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's In Your History

Priorities.  They come in all shapes and sizes, in many situations.  There are high priorities and low priorities.

The Bible gives us a list of priorities to follow as christians:
  • God  (Deuteronomy 6:5)
  • spouse (Ephesians 5:25 for husbands Ephesians 5:22 for wives)
  • children (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4)
  • parents (Deuteronomy 5:16)
  • extended family (1 Timothy 5:8)
  • brothers and sisters in Christ (Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:32; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:24)
  • the rest of the world (Matthew 28:19)

Priorities drive our decisions, our activities (or lack thereof), our daily routines.  They are the stuff our lives are made of, and the sooner we put them in proper order the better off we'll be. We humans have a history of saying one thing and doing another.

Speaking of history ....

The history link on our computers provides a snapshot of our online activities for a period of time.  It tells us what our priorities are during that time on the internet.

What would I find if I looked at the browser history of your computer right now?  Would I find mostly shopping?  Social media?  Pornography?  Work projects? Or would I find some indication of the priorities listed above?

Do you mostly browse links related to God and your growth in relationship to Him?  What would I find next?  Would it be something that blesses your spouse and your marriage? 

I have a few friends with whom I exchange laptops on a regular basis, for a few minutes to a half hour.  The purpose for the swap is so that we can browse each others history and hold one another accountable for anything inappropriate or damaging to our walk with God. 

It doesn't have to be explicit or pornographic to be inappropriate.  I see you were shopping for computer games again.  You're supposed to be saving your money for new tires, remember???  Many times it can seem like a perfectly acceptable use of internet time. However, if that particular person needs to spending more time on A and less time on B, in can be a problem. How much time did you spend this week looking up things to improve your marriage instead of your house? 

If you want my unsolicited advice (and let's face it, who doesn't?), find a trusted friend or two and do a computer swap twice a month or so.  Let them see exactly what you are doing online.  Don't try to hide it.  Just let them see it.  Then answer their questions and (here's the difficult but necessary part) change where necessary.

How will you know what to change?  Simple.  Every question that makes you squirm in your seat is an area that needs some attention.  If it were perfectly acceptable, you wouldn't squirm.  Right? 

By doing this, your future history will look a lot brighter.  I can practically guarantee it.

FYI:  Last week my browser history consisted mostly of marriage blogs, Twitter and FaceBook. Oh yeah, and I was shopping for a used flute.  A little too heavy on FaceBook, so I'm trying to cut back. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

What Is Your Flag?

In the game "Capture the Flag," each team has to cross the border, steal their opponents' flag, and race back to their base without getting caught. 

But that isn't all there is to the game.  Other lesser scenarios play out during the course of battle.  Teammates are captured and either placed in jail or converted to the opposing team, prisoners are freed by their teammates, and flag runners are caught and flags are returned to their hiding places.

While there can be many small victories along the way, they all become worthless unless you are successful in capturing the flag and bringing it home.

Marriage can be like a long game of Capture the Flag.  As a christian husband you have a vision for your marriage.  You are responsible for bringing home the flag.  Maybe that flag represents the way you raise your children; maybe 50+ years of unwavering faithfulness.  For me it represents true intimacy (being known and accepted completely) with my wife.

Along the way you will have small victories and defeats.  Your children may become troubled youth.  Then again, they may grow closer to Jesus every day.  Your wife might promise to work with you toward intimacy, but not take actual steps toward the goal.  You might stay faithful for 25 years until a moment of weakness causes you to stumble into sin.

Whatever your goal, it is important to stay focused on it even when others (sometimes family members or even a spouse) work against you.  Just like Capture the Flag, your teammates might be converted to the opposing side to work against you, or they might be held in "jail" (not being able to break free).  Don't lose sight of the flag and don't stop trying to capture it and take it home for your team.

 How???

1. Pray for God's guidance.  Let Him know that you want to listen and obey Him.  Make sure your heart is in the right place.
2. Be honest with your wife.  Let her know what your goal is and how she can help.  Be honest and do not hide the details, even if they aren't well received.
3. With God's help, develop a strategy for your marriage to meet the goal.  Capture that flag and bring it all the way home.
4. Don't give up even when the most key team member abandons you and joins the other team.

So, husband, what is your flag?

 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm A Failure.

By today's worldly standards I am a failure as a man.  According to current societal norms a man must:

1. know how to use tools and be good at fixing things,
2. take pride in a perfectly manicured lawn and garden,
3. own a large home with at least an acre of land, preferably more,
4. drive a large truck,
5. hunt and fish, and
6. be well versed in all sports.
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

There are other requirements, but I think you get the picture.  There seems to be an idea in today's culture that a "real" man does all of the above, and if he falls short in any of these areas he is deemed "less than" by many whose opinions shouldn't count but do.Thou shalt be good with tools.

Being a husband does not automatically make you a whiz at fixing stuff.  Many, many times even with complete instructions we can make a mess of the simplest project if we don't have a natural "fix-it" gene.
Things we are capable of doing might not meet the high standards of others.  (ie. I can build a table, but it won't be considered fine furniture.)


Likewise, there is no biblical requirement that I can find which defines the size and type of house and property a husband is required to own.  In my experience, owning a larger property would require more maintenance thereby decreasing the amount of time and resources available for more important things like, say, God, my marriage and my family.

That is why I reject this worldly view of manliness.  I wasn't blessed with athletic ability; instead I was blessed with arthritis that flares up at the wrong times.  I don't do well in humid temperatures or in cold seasons.  I am a cook and a bargain shopper.  I fix what I can and I use my contact list to find qualified people to do the rest.  I do what I can with the resources God provides, and the other things are placed on a waiting list.

What I do will not always meet or exceed high standards according to the world, but when I do it out of love for my wife and family and to the glory of God, I am being the man God intends for me to be.Can I let laziness get the better of me?  Of course.  There are jobs that I put off because of the energy it takes to complete them, or because I selfishly don't feel like doing them.  And let's not forget the "ewww" factor.

I'm making these points not to justify my behavior or lifestyle, but to make it clear that the world view that has been instilled in so many people is misguided.  I want to assure husbands of all kinds that they are leading well as long as they themselves are led by God through the Holy Spirit.

So, if you are a husband who, like me, isn't part of the mainstream tough guy, testosterone overdose, beer-guzzling, 4X4, football playing (I'd need crutches for sure), wood cutting, gator hunting "manhood club," there is good news.

The Bible is God's perfect Word for our lives.  In it He gives us our marching orders and nowhere within it did He say that husbands must be cast from a certain mold to lead their families.  The Bible is filled with all kinds of husband.  Some are strong, some quiet, some artistic.  Some tend sheep, and some don't.  Some build great cities, and some live in very humble conditions.  Some lead great nations, and some lead their families, often in directions they don't wish to go.

All in all, I'd have to say the worldly view is wrong.  All that matters is that you first and foremost follow the Lord's leading.  Submit to Him and lead your wife accordingly.  Do your best and leave the rest to Him.

 

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Introvert Husband

freedigitalphotos.net
Are you an introvert or an extravert?

I'm an introvert, but because I have a career that requires me to speak and perform in front of large crowds I am force to be extroverted for my job.  It's strange, I know, but we all do uncomfortable things when necessary, don't we?


Being introverted and being a husband don't easily go hand in hand, especially when the husband is called upon to be the head and leader of the household. There are a few unique issues that have to be overcome when a husband is introverted.

1. It's difficult for us to assert our opinions.  When we express our opinions, you can be certain there was a fierce internal battles before we ever decided to say anything.  Answering questions is even harder because of the possible reaction of our (self) perceived stupid answers.  The possibility of being ridiculed for the way we think is enough to keep our mouths shut.

2. We only open up to a few people over a lifetime.  There are so few people whom we consider "safe" that hardly anyone really "knows" us.  We have one, maybe two friends.  That's all.  An introverted husband may not even count his own wife as a member of his inner circle.

3. We take the word "no" very personally.  It takes a great deal of inner strength to ask for something, so when the answer is "no," it is difficult to gather the courage to ask for anything else.

4. We need down time.  Alone.  We get lost in the solitude of a hobby or an activity - television, reading, computer games.  How we choose to relax is important to us.  We need it to be okay to do what is necessary to decompress.

You might ask why I'm sharing this?

As a husband who fits the description above, I wanted to give some insight into the mind of a classic introvert.  Also, I wanted to explain a few things concerning how such a person might lead a marriage and family and how a wife might help him.

While it's difficult for me to assert opinions and make demands, I do make it a priority to lead in my own quiet way and not in a demanding way.  I have my own particular style of leadership which doesn't fit the typical mold, and I depend on my wife to respect and submit to me as the head of our household and on my children to obey me as their father.  When they don't I sometimes retreat into myself and fail to exercise my position as husband and father.

I understand that I can't force someone to respect me.  That is why I depend so heavily on them to do what is right as I lead us according to what God has placed on my heart. Under the circumstances it would be easy for my wife to usurp my authority and lead the family in my place.  I trust her more and find myself more willing to open myself to her when she submits to my leadership and doesn't try to take it from me. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

My "AHA" Moment

I was a typical husband in many ways.  I wanted my wife to be happy and I wanted our children to be pleasant, obedient, and well adjusted.  I thought I was doing everything right.  I was a caring, generous person who made sacrifices for my wife so she would be happy.  I hardly ever said "no" to her, and I almost never asked anything of her.  Life was good.


Then I had a life altering "a-ha" moment one day on my drive home.  I was thinking and praying for direction.  I wanted to know where my marriage was going and where God wanted me to lead us.

I kept coming back to the same answer.  Intimacy.

God wants my wife and me to experience intimacy.  He wants us to know each other completely, inside and out.  He doesn't want us to hold anything back from one another.  He wants us to enjoy the pleasure and safety of being ourselves without the fear of feeling rejected or belittled.  He wants us to be naked without shame literally and otherwise.  I should be able to share everything with my wife and not think twice about it.

Up to that point I had not been very open with my wife.  I thought I was living with her in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7), but what I didn't realize was that my lack of leadership had removed the shield of protection from our relationship.  I thought that I was supposed to ignore my needs and desires in order to do what was necessary to make her happy at all costs.  I believed that my role as a husband was to please my wife and nothing else.

What I didn't realize was that by ignoring so many of my own needs I was endangering my marriage.  I was opening myself up to temptation by not mentioning some of the things that were very important to me.

I should have conveyed my vision for our marriage and established myself as the head of our home in the very beginning.  I should have insisted of certain things that would ensure that we were heading down the path of true marital intimacy, real oneness (not just sex). I should have figured out that by owning the headship in our relationship and leading my wife through the Holy Spirit I would be insulating us from harm by removing much of the temptation most husbands experience.

I needed to change.  I needed to handle things differently.  I had to learn to think and act in a genuine manner, not going along to get along, especially when it interfered with the vision and direction God gave me for our marriage.

That's when I began to slowly and gently lead our family in a different direction.  I began to assert my needs and wants as important items to help us experience the one-flesh relationship God wants for us.

It's a long, slow process.  We are making progress.  Granted, there are some areas in which we will struggle more than others, and there are a few things that I let slide for so long that I might not regain those areas of leadership.  These are the things Satan will use to tempt me; because I did not insist on these thing when we were establishing our marriage in the beginning, I must be vigilant to resist these specific temptations, likely for the rest of my life on Earth.

I pray that husbands everywhere understand that to live with their wives means not only pleasing them, but also protecting their marriages from harm.  Sometimes this means hubbies need to be assertive when it comes to things they need in order to keep them from temptation and ultimately protect their marriages.

Be strong, my brothers!

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21) 


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Top Ten


Publishing a weekly top ten list is a great way to make increase the awareness of the resources available to married couples who are looking to improve their marriages. Over these past few years I've developed a long list of bloggers who regularly publish excellent articles for husbands and wives who need help.

However, reading the blogs and compiling the Top Ten list every week is a time consuming proposition that takes time away from my wife, my children, and my own blogging.

So, I'm going to change things up a bit on Genuine Husband. Starting today I will publish the Marriage Blog Top Ten list on the first Saturday of each month.

Some weeks my picks will be more husband-oriented and sometimes more for wives. Sometimes it will cover topics many churches are afraid to talk about. Always it will be a collection of posts from solid, Bible-based marriage blogs covering topics that are important in God's holy covenant of marriage.

So, without further ado, here are this month's top ten (numbered only for convenience.) Happy reading!


1. The Warrior Wives
All Puffed Up On Marital Knowledge - "Sometimes it is possible to get puffed up on knowledge without ever putting it into practice."

2. The Struggles of an Ephesians 5:24 Woman
The Five Senses of Being His Wife: Sight - This blogger speaks difficult truth to wives.  I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

3. The Forgiven Wife
Back On Track - Regaining ground about body image issues.

4. Pearl's Oysterbed
Complacency Can Be Dangerous - <-- But grace and mercy is wonderful.

5. Sex Within Marriage 
You Don't Have Time for Sex? - then you're too busy!

6. Rock His World
How To Initiate Sex Even If You're Shy - Great tips for the shy gal!

7. Project Happily Ever After
What Is Marriage Like? - Answer the question and you could win $50.

8. Mystery 32
Pucker Up! - A challenge for all of us.

9. One Flesh Marriage 
Religion is Hurting Your Marriage - A great review and commentary of the Jefferson Bethke's book Jesus > Religion.

10. The Generous Husband
A Letter to My Newlywed Self: Age 24 - What advice would you give yourself if you could?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Making Godly Decisions For Your Marriage: 4 Steps

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Decisions, decisions ....

Husbands make a lot of decisions every day.  Some are quite easy. Should I get the french vanilla cappuccino or the mocha latte? Others are more difficult. Should we buy the house or stay in the apartment? 

If there's one thing I've learned about making decisions as a husband it's that I am often the least popular guy in the room.  Sometimes my decisions don't earn me the applause of my wife and family.  However, as the head of the family I must lead my family and care for them even if they (and I) don't like it.  

What should a husband do when faced with a difficult decision?


1. Pray

Always the first step, prayer will help clear up any indecision.  God will let you know which path to take if you listen and allow the Holy Spirit to nudge you in the right direction. Listen and follow that still, small voice.

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it (John 14:13-14)


2. Study

There are many resources out there to help you find the answer to virtually any question.  If you need to learn more before saying yea or nay, by all means research and learn about the pros and cons.  Ask people, go to the library, Google it.  Do the necessary background work to make an informed decision. 

Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, (Proverbs 1:5)


3. Decide

When you have asked God for guidance and you have learned the facts, make your decision and let no one dissuade you from it if you are sure it Has the Lord's blessing.

Let your "Yes" be your yes and your "No," no, or you will be condemned (James 5:12)

4. Act

No decision will be of any use unless you put it to work in your life.  If you make a decision to move to a different town but stay in your house, your decision will mean nothing. Make sure you act on your choice and do so with the confidence that you have done your homework and prayed.

And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his god, he did with all his heart, and prospered (2 Chronicles 31:21)
 
Husbands, it won't always be easy. You won't always be popular.  But if you lead your household in prayerful submission to God, your paths will be straight and your decisions will be blessed.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weekly Top Ten

Saturdays at The Genuine Husband I post a weekly "top ten" list of the best blog posts for husbands and wives. Some weeks my picks will be more husband-oriented and sometimes more for wives.

Sometimes it will cover topics many churches are afraid to talk about.

Always it will be a collection of posts from solid, Bible-based marriage blogs covering topics that are important in God's holy covenant of marriage.

So, without further ado, here are this week's top ten (numbered only for convenience). Happy reading!


1. A Grown Up Marriage
Boredom an Impetus for Growth - "Once boredom hits you’ll begin pushing for changes."

2. The Romantic Vineyard
Are You A Wise Marriage Vineyard Owner? - "Are you willing to do all you can to help your marriage stand?"

3. The Forgiven Wife
Holding On - "When a heart is so used to hurting, it’s hard to know how to be any different."

4. Fierce Marriage
Planted - "Jesus said: 'Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.' (Matthew 12:33)"

5. A Biblical Marriage
Compiling Your Own Story of Us - "Your own 'Story of Us' tells all about your journey together."

6. Christian Home And Family
 The #1 Quiet Time Habit Most Christians Miss - "It IS a relationship… you know that, don’t you?"

7. The Generous Husband 
Controlling Disguised as Something Else - "Boundaries are about protection, not control ...."

8. Elevate Your Marriage
Perfection -  "Off days happen. To everyone."

9. Peaceful Wife's Blog
A Husband's and a Wife's Authority in Marriage - "Wives are not without power in marriage."

10. Warrior Wives 
All Puffed Up on Marital Knowledge - "It will never help our marriages if we study Ephesians 5 to death and pick apart what it actually means to respect our husbands and submit to him but never actually respect him."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Weekly Top Ten

Saturdays at The Genuine Husband I post a weekly "top ten" list of the best blog posts for husbands and wives. Some weeks my picks will be more husband-oriented and sometimes more for wives.

Sometimes it will cover topics many churches are afraid to talk about.

Always it will be a collection of posts from solid, Bible-based marriage blogs covering topics that are important in God's holy covenant of marriage.

So, without further ado, here are this week's top ten (numbered only for convenience). Happy reading!

1. Peaceful Wife's Blog
Giving Up on My Dream for My Marriage - Sometimes you just have to let go.

2. The Generous Husband 
Compromise, or compromising? - What reasons do you have for compromising in your marriage?

3. Journey to Surrender
Bold and Audacious - How do you pray?

4. A Biblical Marriage
Learning to Serve the Lord as a Married Couple - Do you and your spouse do ministry together?

5. A Biblical Marriage (Yes, the same blog twice!)
A Piece of Paper and a Ring doe NOT a Husband Make - There's a whole lot more to it!

6. Becoming His Eve
Remembering Jesus Our Advocate & 7 Practical Ways to Be Your Husband's Advocate - Great tips for wives who want to support their husbands.

7. Unveiled Wife
How To Pray For Sexual Intimacy In Your Marriage - 4 major things to pray about.

8. The respected Husband
Flame Retardant Men - Are you one of these men?

9. Rock His World 
What a Week - How do you help your husband during stressful times?

10. Sex Within Marriage
Does My Husband Still Find Me Attractive? - Many wives have doubts about this.

Friday, September 20, 2013

What Is a Husband?

Image Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Eighteen years ago on a cold evening in March I watch the most beautiful woman I had ever seen walk down the aisle of our church to be joined as one with me in matrimony.  I became a husband that evening.

hus-band  n. 1. a man joined to a woman in marriage; a male spouse.


So that's it, right?  That's what a husband is. It seems pretty cut and dried until you get into the actual nitty gritty of being a husband after you become a husband.

The word "husband is a derivative of two Saxon words:
  •  hus = house or household
  • buend = farmer / cultivator 
By definition husbands are cultivators of a productive home.  My wife and family should, under my supervision, produce more christian families.  My crop (children) should produce seed corn (more families) that produce more of the same.

The question is, are my crops productive?  Will my family continue to flourish in the Kingdom if I continue doing what I'm doing, or do I need to use more fertilizer, water, or richer soil?  Perhaps I need to uproot all the crops and start again in a different field.

Question for the husbands:  How are your crops?  Are you cultivating a productive household for the Kingdom of God?
 



Monday, September 16, 2013

An Intimate Look At Psalm 139


Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
On Sunday our pastor's message was in part an analysis of this Psalm, but more importantly it was an application for our lives.  The fact that God is watching us all the time is a frightening idea for me.  Indeed, He knows my thoughts and deeds. He knows what I struggle with and what I enjoy.  He knows how I like my morning coffee (cream and 2 sugars, please) and why I leave my spoon in the cup.

He knows you, too.  He knows everything.  You can't hide your feelings or your actions from His eyes.  The best part is that He wants you to know Him, too.  He desperately wants an intimate relationship with all of us.  Too bad we won't let Him in on our secret little lives.  Too bad we don't bother to find out what He wants from us, how He wants us to live, where He wants us to go.

That's a very good point, but what does this have to do with being a husband?

God designed marriage as a reflection of His relationship with the church. He wants married couples to know each other the same way He knows us.  Just as Christ understands everything about you and wants you to grow closer to Him, understand more about Him, and accept Him, likewise He wants us to grow closer to our spouses, understand them, and accept them.

How closely do you pay attention to the details of your husband/wife?  Do you study him/her?  Do you understand why he/she does the things they do or want the things they want?  Many of us give our spouses only what we want them to have rather than glorifying God by giving them exactly what they want/need.   

For example:

  • Wife wants a puppy because she always grew up with a dog and life without one would be somehow wrong, but because her husband doesn't understand her (read know her) they don't adopt a dog.
  • Husband wants a particular intimate act that he feels will bring them closer together. His wife will only do what they've always done. 
  • Wife fixes her husbands coffee using one (1) teaspoon of sugar even though he likes it much sweeter (he uses 4 spoonfuls) because she thinks that's the way he should like it.
  • Husband likes mushrooms but his wife doesn't share his enthusiasm.  When he makes dinner he adds an abundance of mushroom regardless of how she feels. She can leave out the mushrooms when she cooks.
 I believe these examples are fairly typical of married couples.  They don't study each other to find out what makes them tick.  They aren't interested in getting to know each other past a certain point. This far and no farther.   In each case one spouse has reached out to make known to the other a preference, need, or desire only to have the other person disregard the information. 

Doing this to your spouse is like saying "I don't want to know you" just the same as telling God "I don't want to know You" when we disregard what He wants.

So we need to get busy and get to know our spouses.  Ask about specifics, then act on them.  Try your hardest to give them exactly what they desire.  If they like it, do it again!  Don't make it a one-time deal.  Yes, it may be uncomfortable at first (anything new has a built-in learning curve).  If you need help with something, ask someone or Google it. 

For Heaven's sake this is your marriage - your one-flesh relationship in which you are supposed to know each other so well that you are one.

How many sugars does your spouse like in his/her coffee?

 
Psalm 139

 1You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain. 
Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you. 
13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you. 
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Top Ten List

Saturdays at The Genuine Husband I post a weekly "top ten" list of the best blog posts for husbands and wives. Some weeks my picks will be more husband-oriented and sometimes more for wives.

Sometimes it will cover topics many churches are afraid to talk about.

Always it will be a collection of posts from solid, Bible-based marriage blogs covering topics that are important in God's holy covenant of marriage.

So, without further ado, here are this week's top ten (numbered only for convenience. Happy reading!

1. This Gal's Journey
Be A Bucket  List Spouse - Make each others dreams come true!

2. Marriage Adventures
From Awkward To Awesome - Sometimes you have to have an awkward conversation to have an awesome marriage.

3. Fierce Marriage
How Do I Pray With My Spouse? (Part 1) - Why should I pray with my spouse?
How Do I Pray With My Spouse? (Part 2) - How should I pray with my spouse?

4. Hope In Every Season
Submission vs. Obedience - Guest post from Misty at Simply Helping Him,

5. Rock His World
For Hubbies - His first installment of posts for husband gives some excellent tips.

6. Elevate Your Marriage
15 Words Every Husband Should Learn - Really 5 phrases more than 15 words, but good advice.

7. Peacefulwife's Blog
"Why is the TV More Important to My Husband than I am?????" - Her answer might surprise you.

8. The Respected Husband
Being a Football fan and a Family Man - Find time for your wife and family ... and the game, too.

9. Always Learning
Can Sex Simply Become A Chore? - It can if you don't have the right attitude.

10. Journey To Surrender
Are you Setting Yourself Up To Fail? - You are if you're trying to meet too many needs.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Short Rant and Rebuttal

The blogosphere is a world filled with opinions.  Bloggers offer bits and pieces of their knowledge and emotions to be read by anyone who happens to catch it, and readers are generally welcome to add their two cents on the subject. Additionally there are those who like to stir up controversy, taking issue with the bloggers' opinions and rantings.  Whatever way you look at it, blogging is a great tool for public discussion and debate.

I don't normally blog about comments.  I much prefer to let them stand on their own, with the occasional reply to acknowledge or clarify something, and to let people know that I do actually read their comments.

Today I received a comment that I could not publish, not because I wanted to censor the reader's opinion, but because it was a personal attack against me by someone who formed a narrow opinion about me based on a limited number of posts, specifically the "Why Men Leave" series (you can start with part 1 of the series here).

Let me start by saying that the series was written in response to a conversation I had with a pastor who presented me with a list of reasons husbands leave their marriages.  He had many years of experience counseling men and found common threads in their reasons for taking a pass on "happily ever after."  The opinions in the blogs were not necessarily my own, nor do I support men who blame their wives for every marital issue.  Quite the contrary.

 I happen to believe that husbands are responsible for the happiness and well being of their wives and marriages, and I believe it comes at the high price of self-sacrifice.  I believe husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church, giving himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25).  I believe we should live with our wives in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7).

This reader, who posted anonymously, obviously is someone who knows me personally.  The fact that he/she used my full name and alluded to things which I have never divulged here on the blog was reason enough to refrain from publishing the comment.  It simply goes against proper blogging etiquette.

However, because I feel the charges were serious enough to address, I will do so by way of this post.

This is some of what the reader had to say:

"Every time I read one of your blogs I am amazed how it seems to say that if there is trouble in a marriage it is the woman's fault. I particularly took issue when you made a comment in one blog that 'women are to submit to their husband in all things'"

Firs let me say that you probably didn't read very many of my posts to form such an opinion.  as far as your issue with my comment about submission, let me point to Ephesians 5:24 which states, Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.   It is the Word of God.  I am not in a position to argue with Him.

"Based on your many comments, it would appear that you believe that the women are to blame for their abuse too."
I did a full search of my blog, and the only mention of that topic was in this post in which I stated "Feeling insignificant is not an excuse for bad behavior such as abuse or infidelity."

"I think you are a man who really doesn't like women very much because in your little world they are to blame for every mans unhappiness."
  
Wow.  This reader might think he/she knows me, but this little blurb represents the epitome of  misinformation. Talk about a personal attack. Sheesh!


"How about addressing the part about Men loving their wives as Christ loves the Church and gave himself up for her. Trust me when I tell you that if men did what they were supposed to do, which by the way is the first part of the scripture then women wouldn't be the issue."
  
Have you read this post?  What about this one?  Or this one?  How about this one, this one, this one, or any of these ...

Are You the Wrong Person?

Is She Better Off With You or Without You?

Mailbag Monday: Romancing the Wife

Love Is ... A Clean Garage

Am I That Man?

Struggling To Be A Better Husband

The Measure of a Husband

Intimacy ... and Fear

When I began this blog I made it clear that I would state the points of view of both men and women.  I also made it clear that many posts would deal with my daily internal struggles with headship and leadership, and that some posts would be controversial and would not always represent my own opinions.

Clearly, I love my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I strive each day to love my wife as Christ loved the church.  I have written quite a bit on the topic and will continue to do so. So for you to say that I am inadequate in covering the topic of husbands loving their wives, is an uninformed opinion.

"It's easy to sit here and repeatedly go on and on about how the women are failing their men but in fact the greater command is to the men and frankly 95% of you stink at being that man. Own it and do something about it. " 

 I agree the greater command is to the men.  That is why I try to improve in this area each day.

BTW - Nice attitude.  Struck a nerve, did I?

End of rant.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mostly, We're Just Afraid

www.freedigitalphotos.net
Husbands are an interesting sort.  We want to be respected.  We want to lead.  We want to snap our fingers and have everything happen. It's nice to want things, isn't it? 

We want these things, but many of us are reluctant to use our God-given position to get these things.  Sometimes it's a matter of inexperience, sometimes laziness or complacency.  But mostly we're just afraid.
We act all tough and confident on the outside, but on the inside most of us are just scared, insecure little boys, crying, running and hiding.

What are we scared of?

We're afraid of making bad decisions.

Even though we couldn't wait for the freedom that comes with being on our own, we had it oh so much better when someone else was making the decisions.  Some of us aren't calm under pressure; additionally, the decisions we have made in the past have not worked out well.  So we shrink from decisions, or pass them to the next person in line (our wives).   

Q: Dad, can I have ice cream?  
A: I don't know.  Ask your mother.    

We're afraid of disappointing our wives.

There is nothing that breaks a husband's heart more than the knowledge that he let his wife down.  We want to be the hero who rides in and rescues the princess.  When that doesn't happen we put on a brave face but we weep in private.  Then we try to fix whatever we broke.

We're afraid of showing weakness.

We want to be the big, strong man.  We don't want to appear weak.  Ever.  We want to be the knowledgeable one; we want people to think we know what we're doing when nothing could be further from the truth.  In most areas we are feeling our way through inch by inch. 

We're afraid of our wives' reactions.

This is a biggie.  We don't make decisions or make requests because we're afraid of what you'll think of us.  The prospect of you thinking we're freakish, sinful, or otherwise a horrible person send us jumping through internal hoops and living, as Thoreau wrote, lives of quiet desperation.  We desperately  desire things that will never come to fruition because we feel the need to guard our hearts against you, when you are the one with whom we should be the most free and open.

We're afraid of the final "no."

Q: Will you ever do (x) or (y) for me?
A: No. Never.

In a husband's mind this strikes a devastating blow that is often impossible to overcome, especially when he holds in his heart a desperate desire for something.  When a wife gives the "no, and that's final," it removes all hope for whatever that want/need/desire is, and he is in danger of spiraling into a deep depression.  So, to guard ourselves against such an answer, we hesitate to make requests or open a difficult discussion (argument?) yet again.  By and large we would much rather never bring it up again and live desperate lives, finding solace in other things.

Is this true of every husband?  Certainly not, but most of it is true for me and I suspect for many, many other husbands.  We aren't horrible monsters.  We aren't stupid, insensitive, depraved, or unwise. 

Mostly, we're just afraid.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Weekly Top Ten

Saturdays at The Genuine Husband I post a weekly "top ten" list of the best blog posts for husbands and wives. Some weeks my picks will be more husband-oriented and sometimes more for wives.

Sometimes it will cover topics many churches are afraid to talk about.

Always it will be a collection of posts from solid, Bible-based marriage blogs covering topics that are important in God's holy covenant of marriage.

So, without further ado, here are this week's top ten (numbered only for convenience. Happy reading!

1. The Generous Husband
Unsolvable Differences - Sometimes the disagreement doesn't go away.

2. Journey to Surrender
Knowledge vs. Understanding - They aren't the same thing.

3. Engaged Marriage
Marry the Whole Person, Sleep with the Sex Machine - Well said!

4. Always Learning
She Gets The Beauty of Biblical Submission - Submission is a choice.

5. The Struggles of an Ephesians 5:24 Woman
A Good Wife? - This is an interesting blog. She writes plainly about submission and her struggles with it.

6. One Flesh Marriage
Do You Deprive Your Wife? - Turning 1 Corinthians 7:5 on its ear.

7. Manna for Marriage
"His" Prayer - Every husband should pray like this.

8. One Extraordinary Marriage
3 Steps to Schedule Sex in Your Marriage - Scheduling sex isn't a bad thing.  In fact, it's good. Very good.

9. Redeeming Marriages
How Do You Build a Great Friendship With Your Spouse - Some good step married couples can take to build a better friendship with each other.

10. Warrior Wives
The Myth of the Marriage Formula - Leadership and submission are not formed with a cookie cutter.  They will look different in every marriage.

**Bonus Post**


11. True Agape
I Got Robbed - What I Wish I Knew - Cassie from True Agape blogged about the important things she wishes she had know before her house was robbed.  It's always a good idea to be prepared for the worst, then pray that it never happens.

Monday, September 2, 2013

What She Needs From Me

Today is Labor Day.  As a teacher in upstate New York, that means tomorrow is the first of two days of conferences before students arrive on Thursday.  The school year will bring many new requirements and challenges that will cause stress in my household ... if I'm not careful.


You see, my wife is a homeschooling mother of five who works hard every day to educate our children in a way that is fitting our christian beliefs.

I know what you're going to say.  How do you balance being a secular teacher and a christian homeschooling dad?

Well, it's a tricky situation, but with God on my side, here's my strategy for keeping a peaceful home when my job conflicts with my home life:


I pray for my wife every day.  I pray that her day will be productive, that the children will cooperate with her, and that they will have a successful day of learning. I pray for her patience, for the children's attitudes (especially certain ones), and for their brains to retain knowledge and use it for the glory of God. 
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

I rarely bring school home.  For the most part what happens at school stays at school.  My wife is under enough pressure educating our kids without me bringing home more baggage to add to the already stressful atmosphere of homeschooling.  Even though I try to be salt and light in the workplace, I am always mindful that my job places me in enemy territory.  I must draw a line between home and school and honor that boundary. I work very hard to keep controversy away from home.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:6)

I find ways to cool off and wind down before I get home.  I know many christians who think a man should be able to come home and relax. The stay-at-home mom should make sure the house is peaceful when her husband returns home from work. Yeah, right.  The people who think this way probably never had to come home after work to whatever horrors happened during the course of a normal homeschool day.   The fact is that I don't have much down time when I get home, so I find ways to relax before I go home, whether it's by shopping for groceries or walking around town. 
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. (Mark 6:31)
 
When I arrive home I give my wife what she needs.  She has been inundated with children and questions all day and she needs a break.  I try to give her some much needed rest.  She can relax while I deal with the kids and make dinner.  It's the least I can do.
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
So, I ask you to pray for me and other husbands who have hard working wives struggling at home to educate their children.  We need to give our wives a break, and for that we need God.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

This Is Headship??

Headship.

It's a hot topic that has been bantered back and forth for a long, long time.  Most folks have the wrong idea about it, including (especially) those in christian circles.

Don't get me wrong.  I've been taught by some very well informed, scholarly christian men. But many of these same men believe in the husband as the strong leader, the decision-maker who often steamrolls over his wife's wants and desires in the name of  God's biblical pecking order for married couples.

I've read many blogs, books, and articles on the subject, and recently came to the realization that the thinking in much of the christian community may be somewhat misguided. 

Popular thinking in christian circles is that the husband is in charge, and the woman must submit to his authority.  That thinking is, in fact, correct.  Well, that is, to a point.

You see, this has been gnawing at me for quite some time, until a series of blog posts and Bible readings made me think outside the box. 

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. (Ephesians 5:23)

The husband is the head of the wife.  That means the husband is the big cheese, The head honcho. The man with the plan. The boss.  Right?

Wait a minute.

Being the head and being the leader are not the same thing.

Think of the human body.  When the body feels pain it sends a signal to the brain (the "head") and the head reacts.  When the body is hungry the head gives the body food.  When the body craves a particular food the head does its very best to give the body exactly what it craves.

Also, the brain sends signals to the body whenever danger is near.  By way of knowledge and senses it steers the body in the right direction.  When the body obeys the head everything is okay.  However, when the body rebels and proceeds in a direction against the instruction of the brain, all is not well.  

This puts an entirely different spin on the idea of headship in marriage, doesn't it?

When my wife desires something, it is my job as the "head" to do my best to get it for her, if at all possible.  When I can't deliver, I am acutely aware of her disappointment, just like the brain feels the disappointment when it isn't able to provide for the wants of the body. 

Sometimes I have to disappoint my wife, giving her not what she wants, but something less.  I sometimes fill a need but not a want.  In this case I am usually filled with angst at the knowledge that she is left wanting.

The same holds true for my family.  I try to give my family what they need, and when I can't I feel the pain as much as they do.

Is it difficult?  Yes, at times it is, but I always remember that I've been given the responsibility of loving my wife as Christ loved the church, giving Himself up for her. 

What about my wants and desires?  I've made (and continue to make) my wants known.  To the extent my wife is ready and willing, she meets those wants.  If she doesn't, then it's all part of the sacrifice.  
It's good to know I have Jesus Christ as my head.  He guides me in all that I do, and with His help I am able to steer my marriage and my family in the right direction.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)